Many states differentiate between assault and battery offenses. Ask any good assault charges attorney and they will confirm that under common law, a battery charge involves a harmful or offensive touching of another person. Alternatively, assault involves placing another person in fear of physical harm.
In Minnesota, the law does not make this distinction. There is no such thing as the offense of battery; instead, the statute combines each of these crimes into various degrees of assault.
Understanding how assault charges work is vital if you are facing prosecution. Also vital is your efforts to obtain legal counsel. With the right defense lawyer, you could get a favorable outcome in your case that you desire. Contact the assault charges attorneys of Gerald Miller right away to learn more.
Assault Charges in Minnesota
There are five different assault offenses recognized in Minnesota. The least severe of the group is known as fifth-degree assault. The most serious charge is referred to as first-degree assault. While the penalties for these offenses vary, any criminal conviction could negatively impact your life.
The charge of simple assault is the lowest tier of assault crimes in Minnesota. Under state law, simple assault involves intentional infliction of injury. This statute also covers the attempted infliction of injury. Simple assault also can involve an act intended to cause fear of imminent injury or death. Fifth-degree assault is a misdemeanor under the law.
Fourth-degree assault is also a misdemeanor in Minnesota. However, this charge differs from fifth-degree assault as it is considered a gross misdemeanor. This is an important difference, as a gross misdemeanor conviction could lead to a year in jail and a fine of up to $3,000.
Charges of fourth-degree assault are reserved for offenses against members of certain governmental agencies. Specifically, this charge involves conduct that would qualify as a fifth-degree assault against peace officers, firefighters, and school officers.
The offense of third-degree assault is the lowest-level felony offense on the list. This charge is used when the assault involves either specific protection classes of victims or results in considerable bodily harm.
Third-degree assault is commonly charged when the alleged assault victim is four years old or younger. Alternatively, this charge is appropriate in cases of assault against a minor with a prior history of abuse in their life.
Any person convicted of third-degree assault faces a maximum prison term of five years. Additionally, they could be fined up to $10,000 upon conviction. As a felony, a conviction for this charge also carries steep collateral consequences like the loss of constitutional rights and difficulty finding employment.
A charge of second-degree assault is a serious offense. This offense is reserved for cases when a person uses a potentially deadly weapon during the course of the assault. A deadly weapon is defined not by its type, but how the defendant is accused to have used it.
The penalties for a conviction for second-degree assault vary depending on the facts of the case. Typically, this felony offense will result in up to seven years in prison and a maximum fine of no more than $14,000. However, the maximum penalties increase in cases where an assault leads to substantial bodily harm. In this situation, a conviction will lead to up to 10 years in state prison and a maximum fine of $20,000.
The most serious assault charge is known as first-degree assault. This charge is appropriate in cases where the alleged victim suffers great bodily harm. Great bodily harm is any injury that leads to disfigurement, the loss of use of a body part, the risk of that person’s death. This charge typically results in a maximum 20-year term of imprisonment and a fine of no more than $30,000.
Discuss Your Assault Charge with Gerald Miller
By combining assault and battery charges into one type of offense, Minnesota assault cases can vary greatly in severity. No matter which assault offense you are charged with, it is vital that you take your case seriously. The lawyers at Gerald Miller can help you protect your rights and aggressively pursue a positive outcome in your case. To learn more about your options, call right away at (612) 440-4608 to schedule your free initial consultation with the attorneys of Gerald Miller.